Alexandria and the neighbouring bay of Abukir were among Egypt’s most important harbors and cultural centres from Homeric times onwards.
The remains of the famous Ptolemaic palace used by the legendary Cleopatra VII as well as relics from the ancient lighthouse of Pharos, considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, have been discovered off the coast. Three sunken cities were excavated under the surface of Abukir Bay.
Pharaonic, Greek and Roman artefacts have been found, including 5 colossal, 12 m high statues from the Ptolemaic period, no less than 25 sphinxes, the oldest going back to the reign of Sesostris II in 1900 BC and the most recent going back to 600 BC.
The underwater remains are exceptionally precious. They bear an eloquent and meaningful testimony to the role played by Alexandria for thousand years in Egypt and more widely in the Mediterranean since it was founded in 321 BC until its decline in the IV century AD. It served as a gate for Hellenism and Romanism and to a certain extent of Christianity in Egypt, Africa, and the Middle East and was a window of Egyptian civilisation which was widely open to the Mediterranean.
It is now planned to build an underwater museum to exhibit the cultural treasures of Alexandria Bay.